The Eden Prairie (Minn.) football team is one day away from facing off against rival Edina, the team’s biggest roadblock to an eighth state title in 17 years.
Having prepared intensely all week, coach Mike Grant eases up at practice come Thursday and the Eagles have a two-hour walk-through to solidify Friday’s game plan.
The after party awaits in the school cafeteria, where players' parents help serve a team dinner that typically consists of pasta, Caesar salad, bread and fruit.
Grant says the dinner is a tradition that brings together starters and reserves on both the varsity and JV teams.
Bonding isn’t the only purpose though. The meal “helps us carry an energy so we succeed on Friday night,” says senior cornerback John Reynolds.
“Eating right is very important to our team,” adds senior running back Jacob Woodring. “What you eat a couple days going up to the game is what’s going to be burning through your body when you play.”
Fruits and vegetables, such as bananas, apples, pineapples grapes, carrots, steamed broccoli and baked potatoes, are staples in senior wide receiver Elijah Johnson’s diet, and he says he doesn’t often eat fast food or candy.
“I’ve taken my eating habits more seriously," Johnson said. "I’ve resorted to healthy [food] — baked or grilled — nothing fried."
Reynolds says he's convinced that good nutrition helps him stay healthy and perform well. He integrates lean proteins like salmon, along with grains such as quinoa.
“If you want your body to perform well, you need to put the right things into it,” Reynolds says. “It’s like a car. If you put bad fuel in, it’s going to break down. Same goes for your body. If you don’t [eat] the correct foods, then it will not perform to its full potential.”